Listen up, it’s cool to like Harry Styles now
Jazzy suits, all day every day
Listen: Harry Styles is a cool guy.
Harry Styles has always been cool, ever since the inception of One Direction when it looked like all of their Facebook profile pictures had SCREEN MUNCH in the corner, when they looked like the human incarnation of a song by The 1975, when they were so uncool it was actually cool to tell everyone how uncool you thought they were. You know, back in like 2012 when we were all obsessed with 'Gangnam Style' and there wasn't even one royal baby yet. Now we've got three of them, like Lynx sets you get at Christmas from distant relatives.
However, as cool as Harry Styles is/has always been, it’s never been cool to actually like Harry Styles. But that’s all changed.
Harry Styles has undergone a renaissance, a rebirth, he has dropped out of uni and started again on a different course but is in a better place now because he’s got some university experience under his belt already. No longer is Harry Styles singing over manufactured beats about love in a way that is only accessible to anyone under the age of 16. No, Harry Styles has re-branded himself and is marketing himself at us, the so-called adults, the ones with our shit roughly together.
If you’ve listened to his self-titled solo album, Harry Styles, you’ll know that it’s a soft-rock album aimed at people who enjoy listening to Fleetwood Mac. You know, the ones who have vinyl players and a playlist filled with songs you’ve never heard of but your Dad loves.
I’ve never really had a typically good music taste. If anything, I’m still in my emo phase, nostalgic for a time when Fall Out Boy were riding high in the charts with Gym Class Heroes, and Panic! At the Disco had more members than just Brendon Urie. My first gig was Busted and I went with my Mum. I’ve seen Take That live. I once rewrote the lyrics to Green Day’s 'Wake Me Up When September Ends' as "Wake Me Up When School Starts Again" for an assembly. I wrote an original song called ‘Xbox Kid’, which was literally just a song about a kid that loved playing on his Xbox (available on my Soundcloud now).
But that doesn’t matter to me, I’m a different person now, my music taste has evolved. I like Father John Misty, I have my own vinyl player, I sometimes type “jazz” into Spotify and play the first thing that comes up.
What I’m trying to say is, Harry Styles isn’t some teenage heart-throb anymore, he’s a fully formed artist now and it’s acceptable to like him, no matter what kind of music you like. He has a band that play actual instruments, he writes his own stuff, he hasn’t gone down the two routes of pop available at this point in time – those being Ed Sheeran-lite acoustic-driven ballads, and in-da-club R&B but also rap stuff that’s still palatable for guys in North Face fleeces, those guys that are horny for smart casual sportswear and music which is 'sick'.
His solo album is bloody good, incorporating the sounds of David Bowie, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and The Rolling Stones into one solid attempt at reinventing himself. ‘Kiwi’ is an absolute ‘Mr Brightside’ of a track, suitable for the Knights of Dark Fruit to huddle up and belt out the lyrics to, matching shirt/T-shirt combo awash with sweat and spilled Dark Fruit. ‘Sweet Creature’ is a haunting acoustic track that doesn’t sound anything like Ed Sheeran, and ‘Sign of the Times’ is akin to Bowie.
Compare Harry Styles and his interesting evolution to the rest of One Direction. I mean, God, Liam is boring. Niall, well I’m sure Niall is a nice guy and everything, he seems like a lovely guy. But he’s pretty boring. Not Liam Payne boring, but sort of one of the lesser known Weasley brothers from Harry Potter boring. Zayn is absolutely desperate to be The Weeknd and that is perfectly okay, but his solo work is so hyper-sexualised it’s borderline parody. Like Jay from The Inbetweeners, he loves to talk about sex and it’s just too much. Too much, Zayn, mate, too much.
Finally, the only interesting thing about Louis is that he is from Doncaster, and THAT ISN’T INTERESTING. Imagine it: Louis, on his first day of uni, has to think of an interesting fact about himself to break the ice – he tells everyone he’s from Doncaster. Fair enough Louis, it’s tough to come up with something on the spot. Don't feel like you're uninteresting or anything, I'm sure there's more to you than meets the eye. Louis then has to think of two truths and a lie about himself for everyone else to decipher. Both of Louis’ truths are that he is from Doncaster. Louis’ lie is that he is from Doncaster. Louis travels home every weekend to see his family and his secondary school sweetheart, all of whom live in Doncaster. Louis has dropped out of uni and moved back to Doncaster.
But back to Harry Styles. On top of the impressive solo career, he’s started making increasingly outlandish and bold fashion choices, choosing to wear brightly coloured Gucci suits, as well as breaking gender boundaries when it comes to what constitutes as male and female fashion. He even appeared in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk alongside Kenneth ‘It’s Shakespeare But It’s Set During The War’ Branagh, Tom Hardy, and Tommy Shelb-I mean Cillian Murphy, and he was actually really good. Like, he's pretty good at the old drama.
In short, Harry Styles has flipped what it means to be Harry Styles on its head. He’s taken all of your preconceptions of Harry Styles and he’s crushed them, crushed them like the crushing feeling in your stomach when the essay word count doesn’t include quotes. Harry Styles has always been cool and now he's making it clear – it’s cool to like Harry Styles now.